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IBM Rules Middleware, While Oracle + BEA = Distant No. 2

Business process management software, portals, business-to-business software, and enterprise service buses are being added to application servers in the middleware category.

The worldwide market for middleware totaled $14.1 billion in 2007, a 12.9% increase over the year before, according to a summary of the market published this week by Gartner.

Middleware trails databases as a major enterprise software market, but not by as much as it used to. Databases amounted to an $18.6 billion market in 2007, but at 12.1%, it's not growing as fast as middleware is. Business process management software, portals, business-to-business software, and enterprise service buses are being added to the application servers and application integration software in the category.

The Gartner report said the middleware market is outpacing enterprise software in general. "This technology area has not seen any noticeable signs of slowdown," said Fabrizio Biscotti, a Gartner research director.

Oracle announced it was acquiring BEA Systems in January of this year and completed the purchase at the end of April. But Oracle and BEA revenues from last year added together still leave it a distant No. 2 to market leader IBM.

IBM had revenue of $4.1 billion in 2007 for a 28.9% market share, an increase over its 28.3% share of the year before.

BEA Systems occupied the No. 2 spot with revenue of $1.3 billion and 9.3% market share. Its share was down slightly from 9.8% the year before.

Oracle was No. 3, with $1.2 billion in revenue and 8.5% market share, an increase from 8% the year before. Oracle acquired BEA Systems as a Java middleware supplier. Middleware will be a crucial element of future application-buying decisions, with customer's wanting the middleware most attuned to their applications, Oracle believes.

Sterling Commerce was No. 4, with $443 million in revenue and 3.1% market share, down from 3.5% the year before.

Microsoft was No. 5, with $426 million and 3% market share, up from 2.4% the year before, the Gartner report said.

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